Haven’t they done well!

The lockstep official agreement on COVID policies across the world, cutting across one hundred years of epidemiological wisdom, is one of the oddest features of the pandemic. Even on its own it is a good reason to suspect something rotten in the State of Denmark. The other odd thing is how many formerly dispassionate scientists, doctors and others have gradually come to embrace a belief in such rottenness. Conspiracy theorists have hitherto been an eccentric minority: that they now include so many credentialled critical thinkers and relevant experts is a sociological shift that ought to give everyone pause for thought.

One example of such lockstepping you may not yet have clocked is how years of pandemic planning were overturned in a few days to be replaced with the whole gamut of lockdowns, furloughs, school closures, curfews, masks and, of course, VACCINES. Some have remarked, correctly, how one can trace a chain of causation through Anthony Fauci, via the spurious modelling of Imperial College, to the policy of lockdown instituted in Italy which appears to have imitated, and been advocated by, the Chinese Communist Party. It was Chairman Ji who locked down first, and promoted the policy by scary and mainly faked videos.

But an article by Jeffrey Tucker of the Brownstone Institute shows how the trail goes back much further, to 2005 and George W. Bush’s White House. It seems that this President thought that the existing pandemic plans, basically identical to the Great Barrington Declaration, were insufficiently full of shock and awe for such a great nation, and he wanted a “whole-of-society plan,” rather than one that would enable society to carry on as normally as possible as in all previous pandemics. One such was the Hong Kong Flu of 1968, during which Apollo 8 circumnavigated the Moon without the public even noticing it had a flu sufferer aboard, apparently having caught it from Bush’s own father, the President of the day.

One Dr. Rajeev Venkayya headed a bioterrorism research unit for Bush’s Homeland Security at the time, and he became the head of the pandemic planning team. Now he heads up a vaccine company, and formerly ran the Gates Foundation’s pandemic unit and was on the board of GAVI: what a coincidence! He originally trained as a pulmonary and critical care doctor, though not as an epidemiologist (and how he qualified for the Homeland Security Council is not clear). Failing to enthuse any real epidemiologists in fulfilling Bush’s ambition, he enlisted Robert Glass, a non-medical computer scientist, who was inspired by his fourteen-year old daughter’s school project advocating social distancing and school closures during a future epidemic.

Glass ran with the idea and banged out a model of disease control based on stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions, business closures, and forced human separation.

He considered the epidemiologists who rejected the idea foolish for lacking the will to stop viruses in their tracks. But that’s epidemiologists for you – defeatists to a man, relying on obsolete concepts like “the immune system.” Tucker goes on to describe how, somehow, Glass’s ideas got enshrined in the White House, though not within the epidemiological community or in actual pandemic plans, so that they were trotted out for real in 2020 as a complete surprise to all.

My particular query here is how this off-the-wall approach to pandemics just happened to tie in so closely with Chinese Official Policy, just as we have discovered the peculiar entanglement between the Wuhan Virological Lab and the NIH regarding the very origin of SARS-CoV-2. Wherever you look, lockstep – do you suppose it’s some kind of quantum phenomenon?

But now, two years on from the beginning of the pandemic, and 16 years on from the hatching of the New Model Pandemic Ploy, we’re in a position to do the relatively simple job of comparing its effectiveness with the benighted policies of the old fashioned defeatist epidemiologists who managed things back in 1968. The new boys have, after all, had free rein amongst the lockstepped governments and scientific committees of the world (maybe the shared experience of so many of them working for GAVI, Gates and Big Pharma helped?).

Hong Kong Flu killed between 1 and 4 million people worldwide: COVID has officially done for 5 1/2 million, though there is an element of apples and pears involved, in that the older pandemic measured excess deaths, and COVID mainly deaths with a positive PCR test result. Still, they are broadly comparable death tolls, so one can only laud the success of the lockdown policies if one asserts that SARS-CoV-2 is much more lethal, and that many more would have died without lockdown. But handsome is as handsome does, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, and it’s an ill wind which blows nobody down a long lane that has no silver lining. In other words, show us the evidence, which mostly reveals minimal, zero, or even negative effects on COVID deaths from lockdowns.

Still, if we take the UK as a country with good stats, 148,000 are officially said to have died of COVID. The IFR of COVID, according to the John Ioannidis paper accepted by the WHO, is 0.1 – 0.2%. So our mortality is a bit above the upper limit (148K / 68m), rather suggesting that our national policy hasn’t saved a single life overall, and that everyone who could die has died, notwithstanding vaccines and ventilators. It’s around a 30% higher death rate per million than Hong Kong Flu without any major interventions. Scarcely a resounding success.

But there’s more to it than that, of course. We know (and this was predicted even by me before they started in March 2020) that lockdowns would cause excess non-COVID deaths through the economic damage they incur, and this has already been seen in increased deaths from alcohol and suicide, from dementia in care homes, and in increased non-accidental injury in children. The full health effects of economic hardship and the inevitable lower funding for health, will follow inexorably in future years, but we have notoriously already seen the NHS, diverted almost entirely to COVID and vaccinations, missing thousands of cancers and failing to prevent an epidemic of cardiac deaths. To this must be added the still ill-assessed deaths from the vaccination programme.

In 1968, economic problems from the Hong Kong Flu pandemic simply did not emerge, even though far greater numbers of employed young people were affected by it. We must never forget that the average age of death for COVID is a couple of years above the life expectancy at birth, so nearly all the economic costs are from the remedies, not the disease. In 1968 there was not even a blip in the national economic indicators. This time round the economy has been trashed to a degree not seen for three centuries, the national debt is unpayable, and rampant inflation – and probably a cataclysmic financial collapse – looms.

Hong Kong Flu did not affect education: I did my Upper Sixth Year, revised for my A-levels, and got a place at Cambridge. The new policy has put my grandchildren far behind in their education – and they are the lucky ones with able parents and teachers committed to doing distance learning as well as possible. Even so, they never know when they’re going to be sent home again, are masked and tested to distraction, and live in fear that they, or their friends, are potential executioners of old folks like us. My great-nephew has spent half of his university career without face-to-face teaching or a stimulating intellectual and social environment.

Hong Kong Flu did not affect entertainment or religious life either. I started going to church and youth club that winter, saw Jethro Tull at the Albert Hall and snuck to the pub without my parents knowing. And all without masks, curfews or identity passports that, now, look liable to become permanent features of life. I kissed my girlfriend shyly but without any apprehension I would kill her thereby, and visited my grandparents without even thinking about flu. I think the grand-ps even came over for Christmas. This year, though, my brother did a lateral flow test before inflicting his virome on a family gathering – and did another before his first supermarket trip afterwards, in case we’d infected him. He wasn’t nearly so fastidious in 1968, even when I caught rubella living in the same house: it was out to work as usual.

No doubt George W. Bush is pleased to see that his “whole-of-society plan” has, indeed, taken over the whole of society, across the civilised world, for the last two years. That’s longer than the two winters Hong Kong Flu affected us, largely unnoticed, so the new policy hasn’t even shortened the agony, let alone “stop the virus” in its tracks as Robert Glass intended. That may well be because the mass-vaccination programme has created an evolutionary arms race with SARS2, generating new and vaccine-evading variants as population genetics predicted, but remember that mass vaccination was always an integral part of the plan, and has been carried along by mighty forces (and mighty money) through GAVI, the WHO, the Gates Foundation and Big Pharma. Mainly, though, the prolonged agony has been because the whole approach is both ignorant and arrogant.

A few other differences need to be briefly mentioned, at least. Hong Kong Flu did not see scientists and doctors censored and ostracised for questioning the official narrative – because there is no need for an official narrative when scientists just tell the truth. Citizens were not divided into the righteous and the infected, along lines that are quasi-religious rather than scientific. There were no mass-demonstrations of suffering ordinary people on the streets of the world’s capitals – just revolutionary student demonstrations unconnected with the virus, but arguably presaging the kind of collectivist thinking that has led to today’s policies. The students then, like our governments now, seemed all too keen to emulate Chinese Communist policies: they saw the riots as our very own Glorious People’s Proletarian Cultural Revolution, only with LSD and rock music thrown in. Unlike today’s huge demonstrations, their smaller protests actually made the headlines.

So in summary, I suggest that what we have suffered over the last two years has not been in the least a question of ad hoc government reacting to new unknowns, but the careful implementation of a complete new-minted epidemiological theory which was claimed by its originators (and still is) to be far superior to what had gone before.

They have been given free rein to prove their approach’s worth. The world situation today is largely the direct result of their labours. This was their Operation Iraqi Freedom. So you decide: do you think they should now be allowed to write the text book for the next pandemic?

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
This entry was posted in Medicine, Politics and sociology, Science. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Haven’t they done well!

  1. Peter Hickman says:

    I haven’t heard much about IFRs recently.

    According to the ONS (reported John Campbell yesterday) 1 in 15 people had Covid-19 in England in the final week of 2021. That represents ~3.6 million in a population of ~55 million. An IFR of 0.1-0.2% would subsequently (2-3 weeks later) result in 3,600-7,200 deaths in a week. Compare that with the weekly England & Wales deaths *with* COVID-19 for the w/e 17 Dec and 24 Dec: 755 and 591 respectively; and death rates are not going up.

    We are soon going to be able to calculate the Omicron IFR. I would be happy to bet more than a few quid that it will be way below 0.1% and nearer what we might expect with mild non-influenza seasonal viruses. Increasingly in the MSM I see that many observers, excluding the recently knighted, think that too.

    The pandemic is just about to lose its power. I wonder what HMG will think of to frighten us next?

    • Jon Garvey says:

      Thanks for doing that basic sum, Peter – the same thought had occurred to me (but not been acted on!). If the Omicron IFR is 1/10 of the original (as the article cited claims for the CFR), then we’re talking one death in 10,000.

      That’s about the same as that calculated by John Dee for vaccine deaths from the EudraVigilance data – and that’s likely to be severely underestimated.

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